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Making Room for Cyclists

As people are becoming more cost efficient and environmentally friendly, more and more of them are taking to bicycling around their cities. It’s a good way to cut down on pollution in metropolitan areas like New York City and San Francisco, and great exercise as well. Just in the past 10 years, the number of commuters who use bikes has grown 60 percent. However, motorists are becoming more frustrated as they now have to accommodate the growing number of cyclists they have to share the road with.

To counter the bike-backlash, California state lawmakers have issued a new law to enhance the common sense and courtesy by issuing a 3 foot mandatory buffer between both motorist and cyclists. Starting September 16th, drivers will be required to ensure they are a safe, 3 foot distance from those riding bicyclists before they attempt to pass them by. If there is not enough room to do so, they must wait until there is enough space for them to pass.

If drivers don’t take the time to make room for cyclists, then it will cost them. Fines for not following this new law will start at $35 for the violation, and can climb up to about $150 with court costs. Drivers who injure cyclist will face more penalties; they will have to pay a $150 to $200 fine plus court costs. In addition, the bicyclist can pursue a lawsuit for their injuries.

California has become the 22nd state to issue a bicycle-motorist law in hopes to improving the safety of cyclists on the roads. There has been a rise in cyclists getting injured due to drivers rear-ending them or facing aggression with drivers when the roads are to be shared by them both. Some cyclists sustain large injuries due to careless or inconsiderate drivers on the road.

Cycling and highway safety advocates are pushing to have more mass education about the new motorist law, and how to keep cyclists safe. Once the new law goes into effect, hopefully there will be a drop in the number of injured cyclists, and more drivers aware of their growing presence on the roads.
What do you think about the California motorist law? Do you think more states should adopt this law as well? How do you think the law can be improved?

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